Chiapas: Presentation of the Report by the UN Special Rapporteur regarding the Right to Food in Chiapas

Photo: Sipaz

On 14 June 2012, there was presented in San Cristóbal de Las Casas the Report by the UN Special Rapporteur regarding the Right to Food, a mission that was carried last June, a time during which the Rapporteur met with different civil and social organizations in Chiapas.

The act was presided over by Javier Hernández, representative of the Office of the High Commissioner of the UN for Human Rights in Mexico.  Other participants included Eduardo Benítez, adjunct representative of the FAO (the UN Food and Agriculture Organization), Marina Patricia Jiménez from the State Council on Human Rights (CEDH), and Oscar Torrens, director of the UN Regional Office for Development. From civil society were present on the panel Marcos Arana (CCESC, OBSCUIDES, IBFAN), Michael Chamberlain (INICIA), and Ana Valadez (Otros Mundos).

The participants shared their views regarding the document by the Special Rapporteur, Olivier de Schutter, which presents a summary of the situation in Mexico regarding the right to food.  At the moment of his visit to Mexico, this right did not exist within Mexican law, such that there is a need to construct it within a legal context similar to other conventions and accords. One of the recommendations presented by the Rapporteur was to “strengthen the legislative and institutional context regarding hte approval of a law for the right to food.”  In October of last year, Mexico approved a constitutional reform that recognizes the right to food in the country, thus urging authorities to implement the law so as to make this right a reality for all Mexicans.

In the presentation in San Cristóbal, there was stressed the particularity of Chiapas in these terms, given the high percentage of different indigenous peoples in the state, these being populations who are especially vulnerable to deprivation and lack of access to adequate nutrition.

Among vulnerable sectors was also mentioned women who in general are those who are responsible for the preparation of food, but whose rights are limited due to their lack of right to participate in assemblies and the denial they face for possessing property.  It was then indicated that aid programs such as Oportunidades do not necessarily favor women, instead requiring them to go to meetings if they do not want to lose their right to the program.  Several speakers indicated finally that they have seen in different places how aid programs are exploited by different political candidates for electoral ends.

Beyond this, there was discussed malnutrition among children younger than 5 years of age in Mexico, in addition to the growing issues of obesity and the high extent of diabetes, this being a combination of problems that is increasingly alarming.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe completo de la Misión a México (Relator Especial de la ONU sobre el derecho a la alimentación, Olivier De Schutter, 2012)

Experto de la ONU saluda reforma constitucional que reconoce el derecho a la alimentación (13 de octubre de 2011)

Propone la ONU a México crear ley sobre el derecho a la alimentación(Proceso, 8 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Visit by Oliver De Shutter, UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Food (21 June 2011)

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